Say Your Goals Backwards

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[et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”]The 2019 Crossfit Games Open has come to a close, which means everyone is feeling either or all of the following:

  • motivated
  • encouraged
  • inspired
  • disappointed
  • humbled
  • surprised


Feeling any one of these is good because they can lead to growth in the coming year.  Take some time this week to chill out and recover, physically and mentally, and really reflect on how your performances have left you feeling.  If you can’t assess what you’re feeling it’s hard to grow from them and map out why you feel that way and then decide the changes you need to make in your training or overall lifestyle.

When it comes to creating change, we always need to set goals.  There’s countless research and support that mini-goals that lead up to an accomplishment are much more successful than setting that one big accomplishment as your only set goal.  But in order to set those mini-goals along the way we need to decide what our one big final goal is.  All of this can be in the context of Crossfit or it can be applied to any area within your life.

So, think about your goal right now.  What do you want to achieve? After assessing this year’s Open performance, or in the context of your job, or your family, or your lifestyle…where do you want to see yourself next year?

Cool, hopefully you thought up something good!  But your work isn’t done yet, there is only one way that you will ever have a chance of accomplishing that…it isn’t a new workout program, it isn’t a nutrition coach, it isn’t a 7-day cleanse, it isn’t a 5-days-per-week squat program, and it isn’t a new degree…it is something so simple yet so powerful that only you will ever truly know and is the only thing that will make you feel those feelings listed at the start.

It’s your why.

Ultimately, your why should be about the person you want to be when your goal is accomplished.  Deep down, what is it that motivates you, what keeps you feeling inspired, what would disappoint you, who is the person at the finish line of that goal (it’s you, but what version of you??).

Now we get to the backwards part.  Phrase your goal like this, “When I _______, then I’ll be _______”.  The first blank is for your goal, when you accomplish whatever your set goal is to accomplish.  The second blank is for your “why”, what is it that you are hoping to feel or to be when that goal is accomplished.

Some examples;

  • When I place top 500 in the world in next year’s Open, then I’ll be fit.
  • When I lose 20lbs, then I’ll be happy.
  • When I get a bar muscle up, then I’ll be strong.
  • When I get abs, then I’ll be a top-level athlete.
  • When I get stronger, then I’ll enjoy my workouts more.

    When we phrase these statements backwards, it gets interesting.

  • When I’m fit, I’ll be top 500 in the world.
  • When I’m happy, I’ll lose 20lbs.
  • When I’m strong, I’ll get a bar muscle up.
  • When I’m a top-level athlete, I’ll have abs.
  • When I enjoy my workouts more, I’ll get stronger.

Some of these kind of fit and make sense, others make us stop and think for a minute.  Is it the action/accomplishment that will bring us what we are hoping, or do we need to find that feeling or become that person, in order to accomplish what we want??

If you just happen to place top 500 in the world does that mean you are fit?  Or if you embrace to process of getting fitter will that place you top 500?

If you woke up 20lbs lighter tomorrow, does that mean you’ll be happy? Or will being happy and loving yourself right now help to be the stepping stones of what will create you into the person you want to be when you are 20lbs lighter.

Will getting the bar muscle up prove that you’re strong or do you first need to be strong in order to get that bar muscle up, which means you need to put in the work each day to get a little stronger week by week.

If I wake up with 6-pack abs tomorrow, will that qualify me for the Crossfit Games?  Or maybe once I’m fit and strong enough to qualify my body composition will reflect that and I’ll see my abs. (or maybe I won’t because body composition doesn’t define fitness and that’s a lesson to be learned along the way).

And last example, hopefully you are picking up what I’m laying down here, is it needing to get stronger so that you enjoy your workouts more or do you need to find some ways to enjoy your workouts more and that is what will lead to you eventually getting stronger?

These reflections are important because they lead us to actually reevaluate our why along with our goals.  We need to understand that we are fully in control of accomplishing what we want just as much as we are of being the person we want to be.  Achieving goals is hardly about the trophy at the end of it all, it is about the person that is chiseled and built throughout the process that makes us feel successful and fulfilled.  Those mini-goals that we set should be behavior-goals that pave the road towards making us into our “why”, rather than outcome-goals that seem like they should stack up to our final intention but don’t always correlate. See the chart for examples.

This can be a lot to reflect on and process so take the time to really think it through;

  • decide on your goal
  • state your “why”
  • say it backwards
  • figure out how to accomplish your “why” first
  • realize you can attain any goal you set your heart on.